CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday accused the government of cracking down ahead of November’s parliamentary election, as police arrested at least 28 members of the Islamist group.
The Brotherhood, which fields independent candidates to skirt a ban on religious parties, said on its website that police arrested 11 members of the group in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on Monday.
It also said police arrested 10 members in dawn raids in the province of Daqhiliya the previous day.
“There has been an escalation in arrests ahead of the elections,” politburo member Essam al-Erian told AFP, adding that the security services had warned Brotherhood activists against contesting the election.
The Brotherhood, which has 88 seats in parliament, confirmed last week it would contest 30 percent of 518 seats in the election, rejecting boycott calls by Egyptian dissident and former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
A security official said seven university students affiliated with the Brotherhood were arrested this week after they allegedly scuffled with security guards in Al-Azhar University’s branch in the Nile Delta city of Zaqaziq.
The scuffle erupted after guards asked women wearing the face veil to show their faces for identification.
The Islamist movement, founded in 1928, advocates an Islamic state achieved through peaceful means.
Its members are routinely charged with belonging to a banned group and several of its leaders have faced charges of money laundering and forming terrorist cells, which the group denies.
Police rounded up hundreds of Brotherhood activists last year.